Did you have a "Refrigerator mother"? (Poll)

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Which of the following is a better description of your mother?
Generally warm, loving and nurturing 56%  56%  [ 66 ]
Generally cold, distant, rejecting and/or punishing 44%  44%  [ 51 ]
Total votes : 117

ThomasL
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02 Oct 2010, 3:31 am

flyingkittycat wrote:
You don't really seek actual answers, you seek agreement even though that theory has been debunked.


How do you get that?

I believe I'm seeking actual answers. I'm trying to find out if there is in fact a tendency for autistic people to have cold, distant mothers. I guess the problem is that I don't know what the percentage would be for NT people, for comparison.



ThomasL
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02 Oct 2010, 3:38 am

Valoyossa wrote:

Why mothers and not fathers?


I think that's because until very recently in our culture, fathers have been mostly absent regardless if you're NT or autistic. So the difference would be primarily with the mothers, right?

One thing I'm learning real quick from this thread is that people are VERY protective of their mothers. Then again, it seems that most who've replied so far have been women, so maybe it's just women getting defensive against any perceived attack on women?

I guess most of you who are upset by this thread were fortunate to have much better relations with their mothers than I had. Consider yourselves lucky.



ThomasL
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02 Oct 2010, 3:47 am

auntblabby wrote:
nature versus nurture? which one is the cart versus horse? are "refrigerator" parents themselves possessing of autistic traits?
i don't blame my parents whom i continue to believe did the best they could with what they had, in terms of their own lack of parental nurturing as they grew up themselves in addition to their unfavorable familial genetic complement handed down through the generations.


I agree with all of this.



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02 Oct 2010, 3:54 am

My parents have always been extremely supportive. In no way are they cold or distant. I thought it was established that autism was genetic, so why even consider something like that? It might develop people with poor social skills and morals, but autism is a gentic condition.



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02 Oct 2010, 4:05 am

Bear in mind that mothers try to do what's best for their children. When kissing and hugging and cuddling your child induces meltdowns, it's the good mothers, not the bad, who act like refrigerators.


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02 Oct 2010, 4:47 am

ThomasL wrote:
flyingkittycat wrote:
You don't really seek actual answers, you seek agreement even though that theory has been debunked.


How do you get that?

I believe I'm seeking actual answers. I'm trying to find out if there is in fact a tendency for autistic people to have cold, distant mothers. I guess the problem is that I don't know what the percentage would be for NT people, for comparison.


The thing is though that people with cool personalities do not automatically neglect or abuse their children. A cool mother for example, might not be good at dealing with their childs emotional upsets but might tend to many other good things such as be supportive, encouraging and cook nice things for them and make sure they have nice warm clothes.

Similarly a mother who is of the more rational/logical type might not be good at some aspects of parenting an NT child but may be very involved in making sure it gets a good education and making sure the child enjoys its life, or something like that.


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02 Oct 2010, 5:16 am

pandorazmtbox wrote:
I wish your poll had more choices.


I'd like that too.
pandorazmtbox wrote:
You should also consider that genetic heretibility of risk of ASD is 90%. Perhaps what was once thought of as 'refrigerator mother' might actually be incidence of undiagnosed, female ASD--genetic transmission, not environmental.


Sorry, what was that again? I am a profesional geneticist and I have never, ever encountered such a risk estimation of transmission in the specialized literature. Had this been proved, we would have had the opportunity for Asperger's prenatal diagnosis by now.
The closest people have come to prediction of recurrence in Asperger's, that's about 20 % when the father is transmitting and 5-10 % when it's the mother. When there are two parents with Asperger's the risk would be above 50 but never 90 %.

I wish the refrigerator mother theory was out of the books by now, it only messes people's minds up.



Last edited by Severus on 02 Oct 2010, 7:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

kip
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02 Oct 2010, 5:22 am

My mum has possible AS, she's got a lot of the same traits as me. So while she was never cold, she was distant in comparison to my friends mother. But, I never cared. She did good raising me, sure she never played with sis and I, but she never complained when we would play either. So meh. My dad was actually abusive, so I think I more got refrigerator dad than mum.


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02 Oct 2010, 5:34 am

kip wrote:
My dad was actually abusive, so I think I more got refrigerator dad than mum.


Yeah, about the same here, if there was a refrigerator personality in the family, it was on my father's side.
Very normal and loving, albeit overwhelmed mother and a distant and not cold, but superficial and uncaring father who could get abusive when crossed (which happened rather often). I don't think I ever tried to establish an emotional relationship with him so as to get frustrated for the lack thereof - as far as I can remember, I knew he was 'no use' at all. And I was sure that had I been left to be cared by him, I'd go hungry and unkempt, so at age 7 I was perfectly capable to cook a meal, clean the house and do the laundry. My mother was often at the hospital with my brother who's been ill since I can remember and my father was only too happy to be relieved of any household duties. He was not very good as a provider or anything, even essentials, now I come to think about it, so even the material needs weren't provided for. Now that's a refrigerator, I think.



Last edited by Severus on 02 Oct 2010, 7:26 am, edited 3 times in total.

WoadCrow
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02 Oct 2010, 5:43 am

My parents were just like the ones described in that article. But I have to disagree with the premise that autism is brought on by the parents.

Because has anyone considered that its not cold, un-affectionate mothering that causes autism, but autism that causes mothers to be cold, withdrawn. People with autism don't respond to peoples emotions, and Neuro-typicals are wired (as its said) to look for an emotional response to their emotions -- especially from the people they care about, especially with the mostly emotional motivation to raise a child, subconsciously the mother doesn't see the response or even a flicker of awareness of her emotions in the child so she stops trying to make that connection. And its just the neuro-typical mindset to think that if I don't feel like im in love when I'm with this baby, then I must not love this baby. If you lose the emotional motivation to raise a child what is left? Caring for the child becomes a process of just fulfilling the necessary inputs, food, protection... Just like the article described in the parents a "mechanical type of attention to material needs only".



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02 Oct 2010, 6:09 am

pandorazmtbox wrote:
I wish your poll had more choices.

You should also consider that genetic heretibility of risk of ASD is 90%. Perhaps what was once thought of as 'refrigerator mother' might actually be incidence of undiagnosed, female ASD--genetic transmission, not environmental.


I've certainly come to realise that this is the case with my mother.



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02 Oct 2010, 8:20 am

Severus wrote:
pandorazmtbox wrote:
I wish your poll had more choices.


I'd like that too.
pandorazmtbox wrote:
You should also consider that genetic heretibility of risk of ASD is 90%. Perhaps what was once thought of as 'refrigerator mother' might actually be incidence of undiagnosed, female ASD--genetic transmission, not environmental.


Sorry, what was that again? I am a profesional geneticist and I have never, ever encountered such a risk estimation of transmission in the specialized literature. Had this been proved, we would have had the opportunity for Asperger's prenatal diagnosis by now.
The closest people have come to prediction of recurrence in Asperger's, that's about 20 % when the father is transmitting and 5-10 % when it's the mother. When there are two parents with Asperger's the risk would be above 50 but never 90 %.


I just report the facts, this is not my literature stream. Also according to Levitt, the genes involving brain development are ~25,000, many of these proteins are multi-taskers. There has been no clean finding of "aha, we found the gene!" That is not what he has said or what I have reported. I believe he was referencing a study yesterday (as were others) of twins by McGuffin et al. (2001) published in Science.


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02 Oct 2010, 8:26 am

No! My mother is the furthest from a Refrigerator Mother.
Very, very kind; loving; understanding.



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02 Oct 2010, 8:41 am

I assume this is the McGuffin's study:

Quote:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/291/5507/1232

There is a figure in there which is, I believe, the source of the '90 %'. But the reference numbered '11' is not to be found easily as it is a book as I see. I am pretty sure though, since they talk specifically about twin studies, that they meant the risk for a twin to have the disorder if one of the other twins has it already. For identical twins, risk of 90 % is high-ish but not unheard of. For most hereditary and multifactorial disesase the risk for one twin if the other has the disorder varies between 30 and 70 %. For fraternal twins the risk is as it would be between normal siblings (provided that the condition is not caused by some influence both twins experienced when they were in the maternal womb - and even this is not 100 % sure). If the risk for both identical twins to be affected is high, this indicates for a definitive genetic component, while if the risk is higher for ordinary siblings (like fraternal twins) it is more likely to have a shared environmental component, as normal same-parents siblings have only 25 % chance of sharing roughly the same genes.
I won't put my head on the block to defend my thesis but I am pretty sure that by twin studies they meant studies that assessed the risk of both twins having the same disease. There's a link here:
Quote:
http://www.theautismnews.com/2009/10/24/high-risk-of-identical-twin-developing-autism/

which is about 88 % (very close to those 90%) risk of identical twins having autism provided that one of them is autistic. I believe this is the case.



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02 Oct 2010, 8:50 am

auntblabby wrote:
. are "refrigerator" parents themselves possessing of autistic traits?


My thoughts exactly. My dad's distant, but I don't think his behavior made me the way I am. I probably inherited it from him.

And yeah, this theory is silly. My mom didn't understand why I didn't want her hugging me. She's so loving. That refrigerator stuff is nonsense.



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02 Oct 2010, 9:23 am

My mother was extremely emotional and empathetic. Perhaps too much.

My father was the distant weirdo in the family.


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